Thursday, October 23, 2008

Web Surfing Stimulates Your Brain

A survey by the University of California has revealed that the effects of Googling, on brain activity, are extremely positive. Aimed at dismissing the idea that Internet use leads to shorter attention spans, the survey tested twenty-four volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76, giving them various Web searching tasks and book reading tasks. The users were also broken down according to their level of web experience. The subjects were given MRI scans while participating in the activities, to determin the level of, and extent, of brain activity.

The results clearly indicated that both groups showed similar levels of brain activity during activities such as book reading tasks, but it was the experienced Googlers who showed significantly higher levels of brain activity while performing Internet searches. Interestingly, their brain activity was also much higher when searching the web, then when reading a book.

So what can we garner from these results? Well, there is certainly an implication that use of the web, and in particular serch, triggers brain centers that control decision making and complex reasoning, which can actually help older people fight senility. "Just a simple, everyday computer task seems to be activating neural circuits," said study author Dr. Gary W. Small, director of the University of California, Los Angeles, Center on Aging. "It's possible that this is something that strengthens our brains as we do it."

All-in-all, extremely interesting stuff. Hopefully in years to come, the 6 to 8 hours a day I spent on a computer will pay off!

No comments: